Relatives of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston call for an end to gun violence at candlelight vigil – NBC Chicago
Family and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil Saturday night to remember Chicago police officer Areanah Preston and condemn the violence across the city.
“You have done so much for so many people, and you will be loved and missed immensely forever…” said her father, Allen Preston. “I can hear his voice right now saying, okay, dad, when I told him to be careful over there.”
Her father shared memories of his beloved daughter, who was laid to rest on Wednesday.
“She’s a big deal from start to finish to me and the whole world now with a police escort coming into this world and a police escort going home,” he said.
The 24-year-old was shot and killed two weeks ago in an armed robbery on his way home from work. The family said that just hours before Preston died, she stopped at the VFW station in the West Pullman neighborhood to send her cousin to prom.
“How dare you think it’s okay to shoot someone for a buck, five bucks, or whatever?” said her great-aunt Maxine Anderson. “Life belongs to God alone.”
Her family spoke out against the crime and violence in Chicago that claimed the life of another innocent woman.
“It’s a shame a policeman can’t go home and be safe,” Preston’s great-aunt Trudy Howard said. “It’s a shame shame for everyone.”
Four teenagers have been arrested for his murder and are awaiting trial.
“We have to worry, what the hell is going on with all this violence and with all these young people who have guns and have access to them?” said Lawanda Hawkins, founder of Justice For Murdered Children. “We cannot continue to allow this behavior to continue.”
As loved ones wait for justice in the criminal justice system, they are now left with a great void and trying to navigate life without it.
“We can’t let another person be a victim like Areanah Preston. was to this gun violence that continues to happen in South Chicago – this needs to stop,” Hawkins said.
Three of the four teenagers charged with his murder are due back in court next week.